Canadian and UK researchers find billion-year-old water

By on May 17, 2013

Old gas bubbles up to the surface 2.4 kilometers underground (Credit: University of Manchester)

Scientists have determined that water trapped in crystalline rocks beneath a Canadian mine is more than a billion years old, according to a press release from the United Kingdom’s National Environment Research Council.

The old water was found coming from boreholes in a mine 2.4 kilometers beneath Ontario by scientists from the University of Manchester, the University of Toronto and McMaster University.  After testing the researchers estimated it to be 1.5 billion years old.

Analysis of the water showed that it contained hydrogen and methane. It also contained the noble gases helium, neon, argon and xenon.

According to the release, the hydrogen content of the water was similar to hydrogen in deep volcanic vents in the ocean where microorganisms thrive.

Findings were published in the journal Nature.

Image: Gas bubbles rise up through the ancient water 2.4 kilometers underground (Credit: University of Manchester)

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